Ben Carson: Founding Fathers, ISIS Both 'Willing to Die For What They Believed In'

In this Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 photo, Ben Carson visits in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Carson, 63, a retired African-American neurosurgeon best known for his groundbreaking work in separating conjoined twins, has not yet declared his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination, saying that he is "strongly considering" a bid. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)Dan Balilty / AP

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CORONADO, Calif. -- Neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Thursday suggested that Americans can learn from the Islamic State's willingness to die for their cause, comparing ISIS to the Americans who waged the Revolutionary War against the British.

Carson, a conservative who's considering running for president, made the comments at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting.

"A bunch of rag tag militiamen defeated the most powerful and professional military force on the planet. Why? Because they believed in what they were doing. They were willing to die for what they believed in," Carson told a luncheon audience of national committee members. "Fast forward to today. What do we have? You've got ISIS. They've got the wrong philosophy, but they're willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that."

Carson then preemptively criticized the press, whom he said would seize on the comments.

"Now I recognize that there's press here and some of the press will say, 'Carson said that ISIS is the same as the United States,'" he said. "They are just so ridiculous, so ridiculous."

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told NBC Thursday that Carson was making a point about standing up for one's beliefs.

"I think what he was saying basically was that you have to believe in what you stand for, and that we have to believe in the ideals of America, I didn't think anything odd of it," he said. "I think he was making a point, and I think his point was to stand up for the things that you believe in."

In his luncheon speech, Carson also ticked through a list of what he said are comments that have been identified as controversial. He touched on remarks about homosexuality, the Gestapo and the IRS, and his declaration that the scandal at the Veterans Affairs Administration was a "gift from God."

- Kasie Hunt